Review: In Black & White by Nia Forrester

Nia Forrester never fails to create realistic portrayals of love that I always find so beautifully written. She never disappoints. And this is definitely true in her latest, In Black & White

Set in a leafy suburb of Philadelphia, we’re immediate dropped into what is every parent’s nightmare–the disappearance of a child. In this case, it’s the disappearance of 18-month-old Samara, the daughter of interracial couple Noah and Dana. Samara’s abduction and the subsequent fallout around it mark the beginning of a fascinating story that is in parts mystery and a thoroughly modern story of a love on the rocks. 

Forrester is a master at crafting three-dimensional characters. Dana and Noah are no different. From the first chapter when we learn the status of their marriage, we are given a very realistic, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes frustrating portrayal of a couple who come from different worlds. Noah is the product of privileged, old Pennsylvania money. Dana is his polar opposite–raised in a working-class neighbourhood in Baltimore by her grandmother and her older sister, she has struggled to get used to the life of privilege being Noah’s wife affords, especially since her skin color will always mark her as out of place in the world that Noah comes from. One of the aspects I loved about In Black & White is how Forrester deftly takes us through the couple’s history and its relevance to their separation. These snippets of their shared past help the reader understand who Dana and Noah were when they first met and what attracted them to one another as well as what has driven them apart. 

This is not a sugar-coated, fantasy-laden love story, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then this isn’t going to be the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a very realistic look at a modern love and marriage, racial and socioeconomic differences (and how it can make or break a couple), and how the disappearance of a child can unveil secrets, then you’re going to love In Black & White.

Highly recommended! 5 stars.

5 Books I’ve Just 1-clicked…and 5 Books I’ll Soon Be 1-clicking

Now that autumn is well and truly here in Stockholm, it’s time for me to prepare for the looooong, dark Swedish winter.  Granted, Stockholm does not go through the same 24 hours of darkness during the winter as you get in northern Sweden (though when you have thick cloud cover for weeks at a time, it sure does feel that way), but I become rather hermit-like during the dark days. The Danes would call it ‘hygge‘ or this whole art of getting cozy and being comfortable and relaxed (or something like that). In Swedish, we’re more likely to say mysig.

So how to do I get my hygge/mysig on? With good books, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and a cozy blanket. I might light some scented candles, too. A cute pair of pyjama pants and a comfy t-shirt or sweater,  add to it my “If you can read this…bring me a glass of wine” socks. But in order to be truly prepared, I need to stock up on books for my dear old Kindle. I’ve already started stocking up for my autumn/winter reading.

Here’s what I’ve 1clicked so far.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.46.28Coffee Date by Nia Forrester

You can find out a lot about yourself during the course of a single day.

On the anniversary of the most tragic event of his life, Randall “The Rocket” Reese must face down paparazzi outside his house, a big sister who won’t stay out of his personal life, and a coffee date with an “old classmate” from high school whom he barely remembers.

His plan is to wallow in solitude, but Fate has plans of its own.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.50.57Relationship Goals by Christina C. Jones

Everyone is a stranger at some point, right?

Pulled by an explicable, undeniable thread of… something… Nick and Noah find themselves keen on becoming more. Hashtags and flights and late-night text sessions lead to a connection neither has experienced, or expected. Beyond the shiny veneer of social media, further than the shallow depths of a good selfie, down to the real, for real stuff that relationships are made of… can Nick and Noah actually reach their prematurely awarded goal?

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.54.16The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.00.05Stay with Me by Ayobami Odebayo

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.08.16Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

 

And then there are 5 books that I’ve already marked for 1clicking…

 

Things We Never Said by Nick Alexander

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.12.37“One day, we’ll be dead, and we still won’t have known each other. Not properly. Because no one ever does.”

When Catherine learns that she is dying, she remembers the words her husband once jokingly uttered and decides to leave him the ultimate, posthumous gift: a time capsule containing photographs of their life together along with tape recordings in which she recounts every secret she ever kept, every unspoken thought whether loving or treacherous; the things they never said.

Catherine’s recordings shake up many of Sean’s beliefs, sometimes enraging him and other times soothing with memories of the many joys that make up a life together.

But even as the tapes provide an emotional roller coaster of surprises, Sean prays that they’ll confirm the one thing he always secretly believed but never dared say out loud: that destiny exists; that their life together was not the result of mere chance.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.16.24Cherished by You: A Found by You Finale Novella by Victoria H. Smith

Life and love can take us many places.

For Roxie and Griffin, the journey has been the best part. The strength of Griffin’s love has tested Roxie beyond belief. It forced her to take a look at herself, expose herself, and fight for the man who cares so much about her. For Griffin, the love of a woman named Roxie allowed him to come into his own. He discovered things about himself he might not have known were possible if not for her. She helped him grow into the man he always knew he could be.

They’ve been through a lot and now that the struggles of the past are gone, they can move forward with the next phase of their lives. CHERISHED BY YOU is an extended novella that shows not only where the couple is now, but where they’re headed. The story takes place a few years after LOVED BY YOU and features many of the couple’s friends and loved ones who have been important throughout the series. There will be laughter. There will be heartache as well, but there will also be love.

So much love.

CHERISHED BY YOU is the finale to Roxie and Griffin’s story and was created for all those who wanted more with a few surprises along the way.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.19.51.pngThe Nearness of You by Sareeta Domingo

Falling in love isn’t a choice

Since the moment they met, Ryan and Taylor have shared an unspoken bond. Taylor’s drawn to Ryan more strongly than she thought possible and for some reason only he seems able to lift her out of the darkness in her past.

But Ryan is with Marcy – her best friend.

Marcy stood by Taylor when everything else had fallen apart, and Taylor refuses to risk their friendship now. Somehow she needs to resist what she’s feeling. Yet, when Marcy leaves for a few weeks just as Ryan moves in to their shared flat, the tension grows to unbearable proportions. As the line between right and wrong becomes blurred, Taylor will have to decide whether she can – or should – turn away from what might be the love of her life.

Evocative, moving and heartrendingly romantic, this is a story about real life, true love and the power of friendship.

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.23.23Then Came You (Accidentally in Love Book 3) by Nicole Falls

Damon Patterson is craving a new start and the opening of his pastry stop is just the beginning. He’s got something to prove and is hyper focused on being professionally successful. Damon isn’t seeking long term entanglements, which works perfectly for Patricia Payne—a single mother who is on the hunt for a man with a particular set of skills. A chance meeting puts them in each others orbit and they’re immediately attracted.

Both Damon and Patricia come with a little bit of baggage, but that is irrelevant as they become friends with benefits. What began as carnal needs being met eventually evolves into deeper feelings, which neither Damon nor Patricia are equipped to handle. Then Came You follows these two individuals as they journey through passion-tinged attraction, fighting to keep it casual, but eventually succumbing to that four letter word…

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 12.32.47.pngA Winter’s Tale by Carrie Elks

Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is determined to make the most of her new job as nanny to major producer Everett Klein’s son, Jonas. It might not be exactly the career she’d hoped for when she moved from London to LA, but thanks to her habit of freezing up in interviews, this is her last chance to impress a key player in Hollywood – if she can get this right, then surely he’ll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn’t allowed for is Everett’s sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – but love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he’s also gruff and rude and in no way ready to make a fool of himself over the nanny – not after the year he’s had. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race . . .

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam come to realise that the course of true love never does run smooth – and just maybe, it’s more interesting that way…

 

Now it’s your turn: what books are you adding to your autumn hygge reading list?

Getting to know…Cat Hogan

We’re back with another instalment of Getting to Know… Today, we have Irish author Cat Hogan with us. Her novel They All Fall Down came out in July, and I’ve just added it to my TBR/1Click list. If you like novels about love and obsession, then you should do the same. Cat lives in County Wexford in Ireland with her partner Dave and her two sons Joey and Arthur, loves storytelling, and has a cat with the cool name of Jim Hawkins (I’m guessing this cat is a bit of an adventurer like his namesake in Treasure Island). So pour yourself a cup or glass of your favourite beverage, make yourself comfortable and let’s get to know Cat Hogan! 

13124599_10153655434767549_3085583176196253113_nCat, I have to tell you that I love the cover of They All Fall Down. It’s on my TBR list and I’ll probably dive into it this weekend. It sounds like my cuppa tea. So tell me, which titles are on your must-read list this year?

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent. This was one of the most anticipated releases in Ireland this year. Published by Penguin in July, it didn’t disappoint. It was number one best seller for quite some time. The book certainly lived up to the promo and the hype. Liz is an exquisite writer.

There are so many amazing titles out there.

Now I am intrigued! I will have to add these titles to my TBR list as well. They All Fall Down is out and it’s getting great reviews.  Are you taking a writing vacation to recharge your creative batteries, or have you already begun working on a new book? 

At the moment, I am working on two!

Two? I’m impressed! I have a hard time concentrating on writing one book. Can you give us a sneak peek? 🙂

One of the two is a standalone and the other is a sequel (of sorts) to They All Fall Down. The plot is evolving as I go on these two- particularly the follow up, but what I can tell you is I am wandering around souks and alleyways in Marrakesh, drinking mint tea and getting up to no good.

The standalone, at the moment, revolves around a not so tough guy who’s past is about to catch up with him in a very strange sequence of events.

12640441_10153411994842549_2326226152995357957_o-1

Cat Hogan

Ooh! Now you’ve got me hooked. I’ll probably start bugging you about your writing progress so I know when they’ll be launching! Now, I think every writer has a favourite place to write. Where is yours? Do you write at home or do you go to a local café or someplace like that?

My current hide away for writing is in my local library. I don’t have the luxury of an office space and trying to write at the kitchen table with my two boys running around, is not always conducive to creativity. I usually end up running around with them- an avoidance technique. The library in my home county of Wexford is a beautiful space and the staff are all fantastic. It’s a community.

So what’s your typical writing day like?

A routine for me is hard to achieve. My older boy, Joey (11), returned to school last week and Baby Arthur(3), has just started in Montessori. This frees me up and I go straight to the library until about 2pm. After that, I come home and do the Mammy thing for the afternoon. I pick up the writing again when my boys are asleep. It doesn’t always pan out like this but I tend not to stress over it either.

I know what you mean. I’ve been trying to fit my writing time around my work schedule and it’s not always easy. If I’m having a hard time writing, I end up working on an inspiration board to help me visualise the characters and settings. What about you? Do you look for images of actors or actresses as inspiration for your lead characters, or do you find inspiration elsewhere?

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-06-28-25

Aidan Gillen

When I wrote They All Fall Down, I pictured Aidan Gillen’s face for Scott. It’s funny, the initial inspiration for me comes from location and sometimes a lyric in a song but when you hit a certain point in the story, the characters take over and tell the story for you.

I think a lot of people have this idea that being a writing is easy, and we both know it’s not. What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer? How do you deal with it?

The most difficult part for me is trying to establish a writing routine around my boys and home life. The process happened very quickly for me. I finished the first draft in June 2015 and by November,I had a two book publishing deal. They All Fall Down was released in July- meaning lots of promo and events. Book 2 is due back with the publishers this month!! It’s a real juggling act.

What is your favorite part of being a writer? 

The freedom. The idea that you can be anything or go anywhere in the world while sitting at your desk. I always loved reading and writing, from the time I was a small child, but the reality was, I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. Two degrees and my own business later, the penny finally dropped.

Last question: what was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

Just keep writing. Write the book you want to write, and believe in yourself.

Thanks so much to Cat Hogan for joining us today! Make sure you add They All Fall Down to your TBR or 1click it today. Don’t forget to connect with Cat on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Getting to know Michele Kimbrough

Time for another edition of Getting to know… Today, we meet fellow indie author Michele Kimbrough. Michele and I came into contact last year when both of us were going through a bout of writing malaise.  We’ve been cheering each other on every since. I had the chance to read Michele’s latest release, Dangerously in Love, a great film noir-esque story. (Make sure you add it to your TBR List or 1-click it ASAP!) I thought it would be fun to to get know Michele a little better. Let’s see what she has in store for us. 🙂 

 

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I started out writing at Starbucks and Panera Bread (very comfy seating). But one day, I was lying in bed ill but had an idea for a plot twist. So I grabbed my laptop, propped myself up on my bed and wrote. That was the most comfortable writing I’d ever done. So, now, I am often found sitting on my bed writing.

Book Cover - DILTell us about your latest release, Dangerously in Love. What inspired this book?

I’m in love with this story. Two things inspired this story. The first thing was an FBI case I read about. I thought it was so outlandish that it might make a great fictional story. That same day, I watched an old favorite movie of mine. Then I was struck by inspiration. 

I think my faithful readers tell what Dangerously in Love is about best. So I’m going to let them tell it: 

Bookclub Reader said, “The main characters are Hill and Caitlin. After a case Hill was working on went south, he decided to change his profession as a lawyer and became a landscaper. Also during this life change he became disengaged in his relationship with long-time love Samantha. Caitlin was on a journey of lust, deception, and revenge to make those responsible pay for the tragedy brought upon her family.” 

Journalist Reader said, “When we open up the book, we meet Ms. Caitlin stumbling into the gruesome scene of a triple homicide. One which almost found her caught up in it as well. Skip ahead a few years, and now Caitlin is the beautiful and desirable wife of a “Suge Knight” type husband named Adam. Adam hires an attractive landscaper named Hill. Hill flirts, from a distance, with Catlin and catches the swiftest, quickest, most thorough asskicking ever. That still didn’t stop the two from having some of the steamiest, hottest and riskiest sex ever.”

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Could you describe your writing process for us?

I’m most certainly a pantser but I never start a story until I know who the characters are and what the major plot points will be. Then I fly by the seat of my pants, allowing the characters to drive, until midway through the story. At that point, I outline the remainder of the story. 

By the halfway point, the characters are fleshed out, their antics have roots and I need a roadmap to direct them to the conclusion. 🙂 I usually have seven drafts by the time the manuscript is ready for the editor.

Which three authors would you love to meet for a good gab session? Why those three writers? What do you think you’d talk about and where would you want the gab session to take place?

I’d love to chat it up with Stephen King, Harlan Coben and Walter Mosley at a bar and grill over shots of tequila and burgers. These writers are masters at what they do and I’d love to just sit with them and have a casual meal to hear how their creative mind works.

Author Michele Kimbrough

Author Michele Kimbrough

What’s the hardest part about being a writer?

I think the hardest part for me is managing my expectations. When I’m promoting, I have great expectations that people will flock to Amazon and one-click my books, ascending them to the bestseller lists. On the flip side, when my books go live on Amazon, my stomach tightens and my heart races. Why? Because I’m often petrified of what people are going to think of my stories – fearing I’d get a bunch of hate mail telling me to keep my day job, which, by the way, is writing news articles.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, could you share your playlist with us?

I will listen to music before I write for inspiration or to set the mood/emotion for me. However, I cannot write with music playing. It’s too distracting. I get lost in the lyrics and my mind shifts from writing to listening. My playlist is quite varied, from classical to country to R&B.

What are three things you’ve learned since you first began publishing? Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it all over again?

(1) Ego has no place in writing — it only serves to stifle you. (2) Lose the expectations (as I explained earlier). (3) Have fun. If you aren’t having fun, then you aren’t enjoying it. And if you aren’t enjoying it, that energy will transfer to the page and your readers will feel it. Not a good look. 

If I could do it over, I’d make sure I understood for certain what genre I wanted to focus on (not necessarily exclusively but if my readers were to describe me, they’d know what genre to associate me with). I’d also write under a pen name.

Which of your books would you recommend to someone who is new to your writing? Do you have a particular favourite? If so, why is it your favorite?

So far, each of my books are quite different and fall in different subgenres. If you like a really fast paced book, I recommend Dangerously in Love. If you like high drama, I recommend Prudence. If you love a good unexpected twist, you’ll enjoy Wildflower. My favorite is Wildflower because of the subject matter and family dynamics. I love the characters and how they interact with each other.

What’s next for you? Are there any new publications in the pipeline? If so, could you tell us about them?

Currently, I’m writing a story that was originally intended for readers between 9 and 12 years old. However, as I get deeper into the story, I believe this story will resonate with readers 12 and older. I expect that it will be ready for publishing by the end of Summer.

Connect with Michele Kimbrough

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

 

 

Guest Post: Claire Duffy & Life Is Swede Day on 21 February

A few months ago, a colleague told me about a blog I had to read–and I was hooked from Day One. That blog belonged to Claire Duffy, who is our guest blogger today at Kim Talks Books.

For six months last year, I blogged as a fictional character.  The idea – inspired by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds – was to create a fictional world that initially appeared authentic, so that people could step right in, interact with the characters, and almost become part of the story themselves.  I’ve always been fascinated with that concept: who wouldn’t want to enter a novel they’re reading, ask questions or give a character a few home truths?

When I moved to Stockholm and the story of a lonely ex pat who gets drawn into a murder mystery began to form in my brain, I knew I’d found my War of the Worlds.  It felt organic: of course Regan would blog daily about her impressions and experiences struggling to settle into her new life.  Within weeks, she had built a fantastic, loyal following, who advised and supported her through culture clashes and the language barrier, a rough patch with Anders and her struggles dealing with his apparently cold and reserved friends.

Regan’s early accounts of being an ex pat in Stockholm are extremely autobiographical: one of my friends only clicked that it was fiction when she realized how much of what happened to Regan had happened to me. I love living in Stockholm, and love Swedish people – but my first year or so was definitely a struggle against loneliness, homesickness and frustration.

I remember at times feeling that I couldn’t read people any more – often I would meet someone and diagnose that they had no interest in being friends with me, then later discover that they were just being Swedishly reserved upon first meeting. For me it was just a case of getting to know and understand a new culture, but, but it was a ripe emotional state to toss a little murder into!  When one of Anders’ close friends is murdered and he is arrested, Regan sets out to clear his name – but unable to trust her perception of the people involved, unable to understand what she hears, it’s easier said than done!

Now that the final blog has been posted, the whole project has been put together into an ebook.

 Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 06.14.02

Friday 21 February is Life is Swede day!!

The idea is to gather up all the fantastic support the blog has had over the last few months – and welcome some new friends into the fold – and see if we can get this little project that could onto the Amazon best seller list for a day*!

(*and also for the rest of all time. But you know, one step at a time 😉 )

To pull this off, we need to spread the word as much as possible to everybody in the whole world (ideally) to buy Life is Swede on Friday 21 February. Join Regan’s Army and blog, share, re-post, tweet, like, submit, pin with abandon! There’s even a Facebook group you can join and add your friends to if you really want to go wild!

Anyone who:

* tweets, shares, mentions the project on any social media will get a thank you & link of their choice on www.lifeisswedeblog.com

* hosts my guest post about the project & plan (I’ll email it on request!) or adds friends to the event Facebook group will get a thank you & blog button displayed on www.lifeisswedeblog.com, plus I’ll tweet & share to the Facebook group a link of your choice.

* blogs about the project (the story, the concept, the plan!) or reviews the book on Amazon will get the button on www.lifeisswedeblog.com, plus a thank you and link on the last page of the book itself, and will go into the draw to be name-checked as one of Regan’s blog friends in the text of the book.

These are just the thank yous I could think up myself (and though my fuzzy, cold addled brain!) – if you have any thoughts or co promotion ideas, I am all ears!! I’ll be monitoring any activity of course, but please do give me a heads up if you are getting involved so that I can be sure to thank you!!

Peace in Time Book Blitz & Blog Hop: Getting to Know MCV Egan

Peace Book Tour ImageSeptember 21 was the International Day of Peace, a day when worldwide peace and the goal of achieving it is put in focus. On this day, MCV Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths, starts her blog tour and this year Kim Talks Books is lucky enough to be one of the stops.

To help celebrate the International Day of Peace, I am giving away a Kindle copy of MCV Egan’s The Bridge of Deaths and a copy of my Kindle-only novella, Choose Me. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your thoughts on peace. The winner will be chosen and notified on Saturday, 29 September. You can also join the official Peace in Time giveaway here.

MCV Egan lives in South Florida with her family. The Bridge of Deaths is her first novel.

The premise of the Bridge of Deaths is fascinating–a troubled man possibly suffering from past-life trauma trying to find the connection between his issues and a mysterious plane crash  in 1939 with only one survivor. How did you find out about this story and when did you first decide this was the book you had to write?

I began to research the plane crash of the G-AESY in pre-WWII Denmark because my maternal grandfather was one of the men who died in that crash. I tried to run away from the story many times, but somehow in different ways it chased me, found me and made me realize I had to research and write it.

Out of the blue people would contact me with new information or the right book would just be at the wrong place (right for me) how many WWII history books would anyone expect to find in the cooking section?

I began my research with very traditional methods; archives, newspaper microfilms, history books. In the 1990s my side interests revolved around ‘paranormal’ or ‘occult’ disciplines such as astrology, numerology and past life regressions, as such I was surrounded by many individuals with a variety of clairvoyance aptitudes.

The way that led to combining the very believable and the likely unbelievable was that Anthony Crossley, the British MP who died in the crash that day,  was easy to research as  he was a public figure, thus making  it was easy to confirm most information clairvoyants said about him. I should add that in the 1990s it was not like anyone could Google any of this, it was easy to confirm but by carefully researching.

The individual who allowed me to use his past life regressions, but asked to remain anonymous was not particularly troubled, and certainly never had phobias, but by infusing that into the characteristics of the fictional version the story became far more interesting.

How long did it take to write The Bridge of Deaths from starting the first draft until the final edit?

Once I decided this is it, I will not try to research more it was about 18 months. It is two books in one, it is a factual documented book, which took 18 years to compile woven together with a fun, fictional narrative.

The Bridge of Deaths Book CoverHow did you decide upon the format of the novel–of juxtaposing the crash in 1939 with Bill’s life and psychic belief in 2009-2010?

When the argument was made in 2002-2003 for the war in Iraq many politicians, commentators and ‘experts’ likened the conversations with the MUNICH PACT of 1938. Because Anthony Crossley was one of the small group that adamantly opposed appeasing Hitler; the events of modern day war and the past seemed much intertwined. Also because Anthony Crossley was called the sole voice for the Arab cause in regards to the Palestinian territories in the late 1930s, that too amazed me how similar the conversations were from the 1930s and today.

Bill is the venue in the comparison; but one of the messages in the book is how strongly we are as a society, as countries affected by the decisions and wars decades later.

How did the psychic belief angle and the idea of past life trauma come into the story?

I had past life regressions that impacted me. That physically affected me in interesting ways. I did not have phobias but I did have fears that were strongly or completely overcome through the use of hypnosis and sometimes past life regressions.  I took my personal experience and expanded to make it more dramatic.

I did use psychics and past life regressions (not my own), I did take some fictional liberties but I was careful to explain what was fiction and what actually came out of the regressions or information obtained by psychics.

In my experience many people are very skeptical about psychic abilities, so I even saved some of the information I could not prove.

Have you got any advice for writers thinking about tackling a novel based on historical events?

Yes, there are two things when you decide on your timespan. Make a timeline and keep your chronology in order. Like a school kid, a nice long line with dates events keep it handy, if possible really large on a wall or a bulletin board.

That way you will physically see the era, to keep it believable.

Be sure to get the right vernacular, the devil is in the details, and I have put down a number of books because if the writer cannot respect the reader enough to take the time to research details it kills the story for me.

What’s next for you? Are you working on another project?

I am a mom and my son just started high school so for the next four years that is my most important job. Stories can always be written and information can always be researched, but my Austin will only be a teen ager once.

I am working on several short projects, playing around with one act plays and short stories and I am working on a series in a modern setting. I hope to write in a wide variety of genres and I also enjoy helping authors promote on-line. Many authors do not have the budget to have online tours or have difficulty approaching bloggers to make themselves visible and I really enjoy sharing what I had the privilege to learn from my on-line publicist and on my own.

Your Peace in Time Blitz Blog Tour not only promotes your novel but also commemorates the International Day of Peace. Tell us why this day is so important to you.

I created a character, Maggie and she is a lovable, loving free spirit very open to the esoteric. I also needed her to be very versed in WW II so to accomplish that I made her a pacifist who felt that knowledge about war is the key to avoiding them.

As Maggie grew and developed I made her an active pacifist who had participated in London protests of the Iraq war.

Maggie grew very near and dear to my heart and creating her slowly but surely pushed me into pacifism; as I am a writer through my words I can help people to become aware.

With the current state of the world, do you believe that we will ever have true peace in our time? 

I used to think that Maggie was believable as a character because she was young enough to BELIEVE. Lately I have read a bit on Gandhi or explored the principles of pacifist rebellion.  It is true that the hope I felt; surely with many around the world, in the Arab Spring when I finished The Bridge of Deaths is now so tainted by so much blood shed and destruction.

It is unlikely that World Peace is near, but as  parent why not instill in the younger generations an acceptance of the possibility so that they may perhaps achieve what has for us been so elusive. If we do not at least discuss it; how can it possibly be so?

But I guess the honest answer to IN OUR TIME? It would be a miracle, an enormous miracle and thankfully, I believe in miracles.

Many thanks to MCV Egan for joining of this week! And everyone, remember to leave comments with your thoughts on peace or the possibility of peace in our time for the chance to win Kindle editions of The Bridge of Deaths and Choose Me.

Happy reading (and writing)!

My Spring 2013 reading list

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No blossoms yet in Stockholm, but soon!

Spring has finally arrived in Stockholm, Sweden–the air is getting warmer, the ice on Brunnsviken has finally melted, I could actually go out without a thick scarf and hat on. You know what that means–now I get to tell you what books I plan on reading (or am already reading).

So what’s on the list this time? One oldie and lots of new books. 🙂

  • The Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton. Now, I read this book a few years ago and loved it. I was feeling nostalgic and decided to read it again.
  • The Husband Diet by Nancy Barone. Nancy is one of my fellow Matera brainstormers and this is one of the books we brainstormed together. Can’t wait to finally read it. I’ve preordered it. 🙂
  • Damocles by S.G. Redling. Sheila is another Matera brainstormer and Damocles is another book we all brainstormed. I loved the plot when she told us about it. I think this is going to be another hit like her previous novel, Flowertown. Different genre, complete different story but I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
  • The Lost Daughter by Mary Williams. Williams is an African-American woman who was adopted by actress Jane Fonda. The Lost Daughter is her memoir about growing up in Oakland in the 1970s and what brought her to the camp Fonda and then-husband Tom Hayden ran. It’s also a story about self-discovery and knowing when you can go home again.
  • Leftovers by Stella Newman. I loved Newman’s Pear Shaped--even when her main character was driving me crazy with being submissive to an emotionally-unavailable man. According to the back cover blurb, Leftovers is about friendship, love and enjoying what’s left on the table. I’ve already got it on my Kindle…soon I’ll dive in. 🙂
  • Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy. Every now and then, I need a dose of paranormal, and it looks like this time it will be the werewolves of Hemlock Grove who give me my dose. 🙂
  • Lessons in French by Hillary Reyl. Set in Paris in 1989, this is a story about a woman rediscovering Paris and her past. It’s also about what happens when life begins to spiral out of control. I can’t wait to dig into this one! 😀
  • Banker’s Death: Temptation in Florence #3 by Beate Boeker. Beate’s a fellow Matera brainstormer and, as I posted earlier, I love her sense of humor and her quirky cast of characters.
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Anne Fowler. Having read so much by and inspired by  F.Scott, it’s great to finally find a novel about Zelda. This one is sure to be enthralling!
  • Woman on the Run by Lisa Marie Rice. Rice is the pseudonym for one my fellow Matera Brainstormers. She writes great romantic and erotic suspense and this is one of her books which I haven’t read yet. I think I will take this one with me to Copenhagen in a few weeks! 🙂

That’s it for now. I am anxious to get working on Maybe Baby again. I’m revising Chapter 7. Five more chapters to tighten and then I will feel ready to release it. 🙂

Happy reading (and writing)! 🙂

Another brainstormed book published–congrats, Beate! :D

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 7.53.27 PMJust heard from Beate Boeker, another of my Matera Brainstormers, and her latest book, Banker’s Death: Temptation in Florence #3–which we brainstormed in Matera last year–is on sale now.

Beate’s books are so much fun to read and they make you want to jump on the next flight to Florence, so if you’re an Italophile like me and you like quirky cozy mysteries, then you’ll love her Temptation in Florence series.

I am so happy for Beate and I’m on way to Amazon now to get it for my Kindle. Congrats, sweetie! Keep these Temptation in Florence novels coming! I love ’em! 😀

Happy reading (and writing)!